Wisconsin Teachers Protest Over Budget Cuts

Wisconsin Governor

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Scott Walker, new Republican governor of Wisconsin, proposed a budged that triggered a massive protest in Madison today. The budget cuts include making public workers pay more for health insurance, which will reduce take-home pay for many by about seven percent. Walker also wants to strip unions of much of their collective bargaining power. He says the measure is necessary to make up the $137 million deficit.

Thousands of teachers attended the protests, one estimate said that 40 percent of the state’s educators came to the capitol. Many schools were forced to close as teachers took a sick day to attend the protests. Some who are against the cuts are concerned that education will suffer if the school systems loses teachers. “Nobody got into this because they were going to get rich, but they did think they would get treated fairly,” Wisconsin Education Association Council President Mary Bell told Channel 3000.

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Wisconsin Schools Get Hybrid School Buses

school-busIn Ocononowoc, Wisconsin, students will be getting greener rides to school. The Oconomowoc transportation department now has 11 hybrid school buses in its fleet. The buses run on a combination of plug-in electric, inlayed solar panels on the bus roof and diesel fuel. Each bus uses diesel to start, and then switches to electric power when it reaches a speed of about 25 miles per hour.

“We’re increasing the fuel economy by 50 percent, we’re reducing emissions by 30 to 40 percent,” says Sandy Syburg, president of Oconomowoc Transport. The city paid for the original buses, and the hybrid upgrade was funded by a grant from the Wisconsin Clean Transportation Program, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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Sexual Education Class in Wisconsin Can Now Land Teachers in Court

Class BooksIn February of 2010, Democratic governor Jim Doyle signed a bill in Wisconsin that now required schools that teach sexual education to avoid teaching students about how to put on a condom or how to take birth control pills. The bill states that teaching students how to use contraceptives could subject the teachers to criminal charges.

Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth sent an advisement in March to local schools about the new law, warning them that their sex ed lessons could land them in the court. Southworth claimed that showing their students how to properly use contraceptives would be contributing to the delinquency of minors. In Wisconsin that misdemeanor is punishable with up to nine months of jail time and $10,000 worth of fines.

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